England Environment Agency tells people to ignore pollution

January 11, 2022 by  
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England’s Environment Agency doesn’t have enough  money  to investigate low-impact pollution incidents. So it’s decided to ignore them. The agency categorizes incidents from one to four, with one being “major, serious, persistent and/or extensive impact or effect on the  environment , people and/or property.” Category 3 and 4 incidents, which cause minor, minimal or no impact, will no longer be investigated, according to leaked documents. But this doesn’t mean agency officials are happy about the strategy. The documents say the agency’s leadership has “made it clear to government that you get the environment you pay for,” according to The Guardian. Related: Scotland’s plastic ban may fail due to UK’s internal strife “We cannot keep trying to do what we are not funded to do; we do not have the money or resources,” the Environment Agency stated in a presentation. “We are in an  unsustainable  position. Our incident responders feel under growing pressure, and this is affecting staff resilience and wellbeing.” The Guardian also reported on  data  discrepancies on the number of incidents investigated. The Environment Agency claimed to respond to more than 70,000 incidents each year. But the National Incident Recording System indicated that the agency attended to only 8,000 of 116,000 reported incidents. The leaked guidance said that staff should ignore category 3 and 4 incidents unless they relate to a regulated site or a  water  company. But one official anonymously warned The Guardian that the initial categorization may change once agents investigate. “A lot of category 2 incidents start off as 3s until they are attended,” they said, giving the example that a category 3 could be a “2km spill of oil or sewage in a river.” Members of  river  groups and NGOs are angry about the leaked document. “The obscenity is that the Environment Agency has reduced its own staff to nothing more than political pawns in a cheap game of Whitehall politics,” rivers campaigner Feargal Sharkey told The Guardian. “It’s unwarranted, it’s unjust, it’s incompetent.” Via The Guardian , Environment Agency Lead image via Pixabay

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England Environment Agency tells people to ignore pollution

PPE Use Protects Us Against Coronavirus, but It’s Harming the Oceans

January 10, 2022 by  
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Did you know that 91% of the plastic produced has never been recycled? Yet calls… The post PPE Use Protects Us Against Coronavirus, but It’s Harming the Oceans appeared first on Earth911.

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PPE Use Protects Us Against Coronavirus, but It’s Harming the Oceans

LA County beaches close after massive sewage spill

January 5, 2022 by  
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Los Angeles County suffered a sewage spill of historic proportions last week. More than 8 million gallons of raw sewage led to seven  beach  closures over the New Year weekend. It all started on Dec. 30 in the L.A. County city of Carson. A 48-inch sewer mainline near the 110 northbound offramp to 220th Street collapsed, allowing sewage to flow into the Dominguez Channel. From there it poured into  Los Angeles  Harbor. Related: LA County beaches close after an 8-hour sewage spill Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn questioned whether an aging or inadequately maintained infrastructure led to the sewer failure. “A spill of this magnitude is dangerous and unacceptable, and we need to understand what happened,” she said in a statement. “The recent storm undoubtedly contributed, but we need  infrastructure  that doesn’t fail when it rains.” Closures included Seal Beach in Orange County and seven miles of shoreline in Long Beach. To make matters even grosser, sewage oozed onto some city streets post-spill. Reporter Jessica De Nova tweeted about a sullied  neighborhood  “filled w/awful odors & this river of raw sewage running through their street Thursday.” The spill was bad timing for a popular tradition, the New Year’s Day Polar Bear “ Swim  & Dip” at Cabrillo Beach. This year would have been the event’s 70th. Instead, it was canceled. “Tragically — the annual New Year’s Day Polar Bear Swim at Cabrillo Beach has been cancelled,” Hahn tweeted. “This is a treasured local tradition — canceling it is a terrible way to start off the year.” The city of Carson had an unusually busy start to 2022, as it rigged sewage bypass systems, monitored  water , excavated the collapsed sewer, removed debris, cleaned streets and prepared for a slip-lining procedure scheduled to begin next week. “Slip-lining involves placing a 42-inch pipe within the existing 48-inch sewer, which will provide a new, corrosion-resistant pipe to carry the sewage,” the city of Carson’s website explains. “We are expecting the 42-inch pipe to be delivered later this week and the permanent repair would then begin. Once the permanent repair is done, the area can be restored including reopening the 110 offramp lanes.” By Jan. 4, sampled water from affected beaches showed that the quality again met state standards. Via City of Carson , HuffPost , The Hill Lead image via City of Carson

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LA County beaches close after massive sewage spill

How these cities are doing the hard work of converting diesel buses to electric

January 4, 2022 by  
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Some transit agencies are saying, “This bus is perfectly good — except for all the pollution” and doing something about it.

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We Earthlings: Laundry Tips To Reduce Microplastic Pollution

January 4, 2022 by  
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Did you know that by reducing the temperature of a load of laundry from hot… The post We Earthlings: Laundry Tips To Reduce Microplastic Pollution appeared first on Earth911.

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We Earthlings: Laundry Tips To Reduce Microplastic Pollution

Is fossil fuel pollution affecting fertility rates?

December 16, 2021 by  
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A study published in  Nature Reviews Endocrinology  has linked decreasing fertility rates in humans to burning fossil fuels . The study established that childbirth has steadily declined over the past 50 years. Although the study focused on Denmark, many other nations seem to follow the trend. The study observed that one in every 10 Danish children are born with assisted reproduction. Further, over 20% of Danish men never have children . Apparently, these decreases started at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Related: 60% of Americans blame fossil fuel companies for climate change Niels Erik Skakkebæk, a professor at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark , and one of the study’s authors, says that the trend threatens humanity as a whole. “We have to realise that we know all too little about infertility in the population so the next step forward would really be to find out why so many young couples do not have children,” Skakkebæk said. While more research is needed, it seems fossil fuel pollution and environmental toxins may be contributing to various fertility issues. For instance,  74,000 yearly cases of testicular cancer  witnessed each year contribute to the low fertility rate. Skakkebæk argues that trends like these cannot be explained genetically, as that kind of evolution takes place over long periods. Researchers are urging their fellow scientists to dig deeper and investigate the relationship between birth rates and pollution. “What has struck me in this study was the finding that so much of modern life originates from fossil fuels,” said Skakkebæk. “We don’t think about it that way. When we buy a pair of shoes made of chemicals originally produced from fossil fuels.” While research is still emerging on the links between fossil fuels and human health complications, some studies are being done on animals. For instance, studies show that rats and mice experience genetic changes that affect their reproductive health when exposed to toxic chemicals. Via The Guardian Lead image via Pixabay

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Is fossil fuel pollution affecting fertility rates?

A radical plan for livestock is coming to The Netherlands

December 16, 2021 by  
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The Netherlands has too much manure. So the  Dutch  government announced a 25 billion euro plan to greatly reduce the country’s livestock. Earlier this week, a new coalition government unveiled the radical scheme to cut  nitrogen  pollution levels by buying out farmers. But the farmers aren’t happy about it. In the past, farmers have taken to the streets to protest new regulations and buyouts. Many farmers aren’t sure how they can switch to less intensive methods and fewer animals while still paying their debts. Related: 20 livestock firms emit more greenhouse gas than Britain, France or Germany “We don’t want the system to collapse,” said Marije Klever, a Utrecht dairy farmer, as reported by The Guardian. “I am a land owner, so a critical question is whether the  government  are allowed to push farmers out of the land. It can’t be The Hague telling farmers they must go, you need an agreement.” The plan’s time frame stretches over 13 years and includes paying some  farmers  to relocate their farms or change industries altogether. Others will transition to different farming methods involving more land and fewer animals. At first, the program will be voluntary. But it won’t remain that way if too few farmers accept the compensation and exit farming. By the end of 13 years, the government expects to have reduced the Netherlands’ cow, pig and chicken population by about one-third. Right now, there are more than 100 million of the animals. While the Netherlands is small, it’s Europe’s largest  meat  exporter. Livestock is more than four times as densely concentrated in the Netherlands as in the U.K. or France. A lot of pollution comes from all that animal manure. When mixed with animal urine, ammonia seeps into streams and lakes, carried by farm runoff. The excessive nitrogen in ammonia damages the natural habitat. “We can’t be the tiny country that feeds the world if we shit ourselves,” said MP Tjeerd de Groot, according to The Guardian. Via The Guardian Lead image via Pexels

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A radical plan for livestock is coming to The Netherlands

Solar tiny home C2X by Nestron comes with smart systems

December 8, 2021 by  
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Tiny home construction just got a lot easier with the plug-and-play prefab C2X from Nestron. All plumbing, electrical and other smart systems come preinstalled in this tiny home , which includes electric heated floors, smart tablet and a standard-size washing machine. Nestron designed its Cube 2 series to be packed with amenities and mobile as well. It’s a zero-carbon , self-supplied energy optionally solar home that comes in a one or two-bedroom configuration. All Nestron homes are termite-resistant as they’re not made of timber, and since they’re not built on site you won’t have to deal with construction waste, pollution or environmental damage from the build. You can simply move your Nestron tiny home wherever you want it and start using it immediately. All sewer, electrical and smart systems are ready to go on delivery. Related: These prefabricated tiny homes are earthquake- and fire-resistant C2X has heated towel racks, an invisible stove, range hood and even a sofa bed for extra guests. It’s 35 square meters with outdoor ambient light strips and a double-door refrigerator.  Nestron suggests using this mobile tiny home as a vacation home, but you could put it to all kinds of uses, including a backyard guest suite or small apartment. The C2X stands apart as the newest model in the Cube 2 line with its long living room window to let in more natural light, which has been raised to also ensure more privacy. All Cube 2 line tiny homes come fully furnished, so no need to worry about how to fit traditional furniture in this super efficient space. You can optionally add the solar power system for renewable energy and A/C, plus a smart toilet and other smart devices like projectors and security cameras. Prices start at $98,000.   + Nestron Images via Nestron

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Solar tiny home C2X by Nestron comes with smart systems

Welcome to Norilsk, one of the world’s most polluted cities

December 7, 2021 by  
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Norilsk, the world’s most northern city, has been dubbed one of the world’s most polluted cities by experts. The small city of about 176,000 started experiencing its pollution during the early days of the Soviet Union. As an area rich with precious metals, Norilsk remains a hotbed of mining at the expense of the ecosystem. An investigative series on the city done by Inside Climate News in association with NBC News and Undark Magazine established that the majority of pollution affecting Norilsk is produced by one major company, Norilsk Nickel. Related: First Nation residents exposed to dangerous levels of carcinogens Norilsk Nickel is the world’s leading producer of palladium and high-grade nickel. The company also produces platinum, cobalt and copper , among other minerals. This single company has been blamed for the pollution affecting the city. Built during the Soviet Union era, the center has made and processed metals for over 80 years. Over time, the company has turned the once blossoming environment upside down. The Daldykan River, once fishing heaven for the locals, has been declared unsafe by the government. Its water has turned grey with heavy pollution. Years of activity have carved a barren landscape of dead trees out of the boreal forest. Glacial rivers have turned red, and the air is highly polluted with sulfur dioxide. The town’s extreme pollution has led to the start of a worldwide movement calling for the criminalization of ecological malpractice. The proposal to entrench ecocide in the law would see those who commit such serious acts of pollution face criminal charges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Hague. Unfortunately, even if such recognition is adopted, the world’s leading polluters, such as the U.S. and Russia , may not be affected since they are not members of the ICC. What is more perturbing is that some of the world’s leading governments protect the interests of polluters. For instance, Russian President Vladimir Putin shares the ambition of developing the northern region economically by investing in more metal processing with Norilsk Nickel. The company has pledged to invest billions in rehabilitating the environment, a promise that residents are skeptical about. The company’s spokesperson told reporters that they will be embarking on rehabilitation projects in 2021. “This will be rolled out across all of Nornickel’s operations starting from 2021, with a clear focus on generating measurable and achievable results to significantly improve the company’s environmental performance,” the spokesman said. Via Inside Climate News Lead image via Nina

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Welcome to Norilsk, one of the world’s most polluted cities

First Nation residents exposed to dangerous levels of carcinogens

November 16, 2021 by  
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Aamjiwnaang First Nation residents in Ontario have learned that cancer-causing chemicals in their air are 44 times higher than recommended levels. The revelation came after years of fighting with officials to obtain data on water and air pollution levels. Aamjiwnaang First Nation is a small region in Ontario surrounded by petrochemical facilities. For years, the First Nation community suspected that the petrochemical companies were exposing them to dangerous pollutants . However, lack of access to data from previous investigations denied them the opportunity to know the truth. Related: Researchers and Indigenous groups collaborate to save caribou Global News obtained the recent data via freedom of information laws. The data revealed that the levels of benzene and sulfur dioxide were far higher than recommended. The revelation means that the government knew these carcinogenic compounds were present in both water and air but withheld the information.  In 2019, the U.N. special rapporteur on toxic chemicals, Baskut Tuncak, visited Aamjiwnaang and expressed concerns over the proximity of the affected areas to the intense petrochemical industries. Speaking to The Guardian, Tuncak said, “I was struck by the incredible proximity of the affected First Nation to dozens of intense chemical production and processing facilities, which resulted in incredible releases of pollution and waste affecting the [residents’] health.” There has been a public outcry in Canada over the government’s handling of this crucial data. A bill meant to address environmental racism was recently shot down in a snap election, making the fight for the right to information an even more difficult battle to win. The bill would have required the federal government to collect data on areas where environmental hazards happen near pulp mills, dumps and mines, then determine their link with the disasters. Further, the bill would have required the government to compensate those affected by pollution from these industries. Although Canada still lags in terms of laws to protect the public from pollution, various jurisdictions have been taking steps toward clear policies. For instance, Ontario has proposed new laws to strengthen the emission caps and connect First Nations to crucial environmental data. Via The Guardian Lead image via Pexels

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